Diamonds, those enthralling tokens of Earth's geological odyssey, have long enthralled collectors and romantics alike.
Yet among these crystalline wonders, fancy yellow diamonds beckon with a unique allure that few can resist. As a seasoned diamontologist, I've been entranced by these fascinating gems for years.
Each yellow diamond tells a complex narrative—one born of intense pressure, volatile conditions, and unimaginable spans of time deep within the Earth's mantle. Resplendent in shades that mirror a golden sunset or endless fields of wheat, these stones encapsulate sunlight in crystalline form.
In this comprehensive guide, prepare to embark on an intellectual sojourn through the compelling realm of yellow diamonds. We'll delve deep into the labyrinth of their origins, illuminating the alchemy that imparts their singular hue.
Consider this your golden ticket to the enthralling world of fancy yellow diamonds. There's an awe-inspiring landscape to explore, so let's begin.
What Are Yellow Diamonds?
of nitrogen atoms within their crystalline structure. These alluring stones have captured the imagination of collectors, jewelry aficionados, and romantics around the globe.
They are often considered the best yellow gemstones, with those displaying the richest saturation referred to as canary yellow diamonds.
But where do these gems come from, and what makes them so uniquely yellow?
How Fancy Yellow Diamonds Get Their Unique Color
Naturally occurring yellow diamonds are formed deep within the Earth's mantle over billions of years. Under conditions of immense heat and pressure, carbon atoms coalesce into a crystalline structure. When nitrogen atoms replace some of these carbon atoms, they create a lattice that selectively absorbs blue light, thereby reflecting a yellow hue. Over time, these diamonds make their ascent to the Earth's surface through volcanic conduits known as kimberlite pipes, finally to be extracted and savored as treasures of immense beauty and complexity.
However, not all yellow diamonds are products of Earth's geological dance. Advances in technology have given rise to lab-created yellow diamonds, which mimic the natural processes but do so over a considerably shorter time. Though synthetic, these diamonds possess the same physical and optical properties as their natural counterparts, offering an ethical and often more affordable option for consumers.
Yellow Diamond Treatments
Yellow diamonds can also be treated to enhance color or clarity, whether they are mine or lab-created. There are a variety of treatments that can be applied to yellow diamonds. Each one should be disclosed by the seller or on the certification.
The most common technique used to treat yellow diamonds is high pressure, high temperature (HPHT). The high pressure makes the diamond more yellow, and it's permanent. HPHT treated diamonds are safe for everyday wear, even in the sun. These are significantly less expensive than untreated yellow diamonds of the same quality.
Irradiated yellow diamonds have been treated with radiation, making the color more intense. They are vulnerable to high heat, so make sure to disclose the treatment to a jeweler before he works on it.
While I don't recommend any treatments, not everyone can afford that luxury. If you must purchase a treated yellow diamond, I'd go with a HPHT one. But I absolutely would not go with any sort of coating. They have to be kept up with and go away during wear.
Grading Fancy Yellow Diamonds
When it comes to evaluating the majesty of a yellow diamond, subjective admiration alone won't cut it. Enter the realm of gemological grading, a meticulous system governed by specific criteria that classify diamonds based on their color intensity, clarity, cut, and carat weight. In the case of yellow diamonds, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the gold standard for this evaluative process.
The GIA classifies yellow diamonds into different categories based on their color intensity. This scale ranges from 'Fancy Light' to 'Fancy,' 'Fancy Intense,' and finally, 'Fancy Vivid,' which represents the pinnacle of yellow saturation and luminosity. Beyond color, the GIA also assesses clarity, which ranges from 'Included' to 'Flawless,' and cut quality, classified from 'Poor' to 'Excellent.'
Color Intensity Levels
The GIA grades Yellow diamonds based on six different color grades, which are as follows:
- Fancy Light
- Fancy Dark
- Fancy Deep
- Fancy Intense
- Fancy Vivid
The nitrogen content in a diamond is responsible for giving it a yellow appearance. As the nitrogen content increases, the intensity of the yellow color also increases. The presence of an intense yellow hue makes these diamonds more valuable. It is essential to rely on a GIA grading report to determine the accurate color grade of a yellow diamond. This ensures that you're investing in a high-quality, fancy yellow diamond.
It's crucial to differentiate between the various intensity levels, as they can dramatically impact both the diamond's aesthetic appeal and its price. While 'Fancy Light' diamonds possess a softer, almost pastel yellow hue, 'Fancy Vivid' yellow diamonds boast an exuberant, dazzling yellow that rivals the brightest of suns.
Price and Value of a Yellow Diamond: Determining Factors
Any diamontologist will tell you that the 4Cs play a crucial role in the pricing of diamonds, and yellow diamonds are no exception. In addition to the 4Cs, where the diamond comes from is also an important factor.
Let me tell you more about each of these factors:
The color of a yellow diamond is perhaps the most critical aspect impacting its value. Naturally, the intensity and saturation of the yellow hue will influence how much the diamond is worth. In general, a high level of yellow saturation corresponds to higher value.
Yellow Diamonds are most valued by their color and their color tone, hue, and saturation. But instead on grading them individually, the GIA takes into account all three factors and sums them up into one grading system.
Most colored diamonds will have secondary hues of other colors. Yellow diamonds can have secondary colors of orange or green. Greenish yellow diamonds are going to be less expensive and more common.
When we talk about saturation of a colored diamond, we're referring to how intense the hue of that stone is. You already know that a fancy light yellow diamond is going to have a higher saturation than one with a darker tone.
If both tone and saturation are strong in the stone, it's referred to as fancy deep yellow. These stones are considered to be Canary Yellow Diamonds.
The cut of a yellow diamond involves not only the shape but also how well the diamond has been crafted. A well-executed cut enhances the diamond's brilliance, highlighting the yellow color. An excellent cut can increase the diamond's attractiveness and, subsequently, its worth.
Clarity refers to the presence (or lack thereof) of inclusions and blemishes within the diamond. The fewer imperfections, the better the clarity, leading to a higher value for the yellow diamond.
Last but not least, the weight of the yellow diamond, measured in carats, plays a significant role in determining its value. Larger diamonds tend to be rarer, making them more desirable and valuable.
While cut and clarity don't usually contribute to the overall value of the gem, carat is of utmost importance, right below color. Only about 1 in 10,000 diamonds mined will be a fancy colored diamond.
That statistic doesn't include hues, saturation, tones, clarity or carat weight. Yellow diamonds are the most common colored diamond, so a 1 carat yellow diamond is going to be less expensive than a pink or blue diamond. But as carat weight increases, yellow diamond price rises quite rapidly.
A lot of people think carats are the actual size of a diamond. This is in large part due to the jewelry industry. We measure everything in weight not size. For example, a 1 carat pear shaped diamond is going to look smaller than a 1 carat emerald cut diamond. This is because the weight is still the same, but the surface area will always be different based on the diamond shape.
Natural yellow diamonds command a premium over lab-created diamonds, though the latter are gaining acceptance for their ethical sourcing and lower price point.
Understanding the intricacies of these grading factors allows you to appreciate the depth and complexity that go into each fancy yellow diamond, be it natural or man-made. It also equips you with the discernment needed to make an educated investment in these mesmerizing gems.
Here are some price points for yellow diamonds in different carat weights and quality levels:
Fancy Yellow Diamond vs Light Yellow Diamond
The distinctions between a fancy yellow diamond and a light yellow diamond are often subtle yet significant, creating a dazzling spectrum of complexity and beauty within the world of yellow diamonds. But what separates these two classifications, and why does it matter? Here's a closer look at the nuances that set them apart.
Defining the Spectrum
As I mentioned, color intensity plays a critical role. As touched upon earlier, yellow diamonds can range from 'Fancy Light' to 'Fancy,' 'Fancy Intense,' and 'Fancy Vivid.' A light yellow diamond falls under the 'Fancy Light' category, whereas a fancy yellow diamond is usually classified as 'Fancy' or above, based on its color intensity.
Color Depth and Perception
A light yellow diamond showcases a softer, muted hue, sometimes bordering on pastel. While still visually striking, this diamond lacks the saturation that defines its 'Fancy' counterparts. A fancy yellow diamond, on the other hand, exhibits a rich, vivacious color, capturing a yellow spectrum akin to sunflowers or goldenrod.
The depth of color directly influences the value of the diamond. Generally, diamonds with deeper, more intense colors command higher prices. However, there's a catch; in larger carat weights, the yellow hue can appear diluted, sometimes necessitating a balancing act between size and color intensity when making a purchase.
While Fancy yellow diamonds are comparatively rarer and hence more expensive, light yellow diamonds are more abundantly available. The latter serves as an ideal entry point for those newly captivated by the allure of colored diamonds but are cautious about the investment.
Versatility in Jewelry
Fancy yellow diamonds are often the centerpiece of high-end, bespoke jewelry pieces, where their intense color can shine with minimal distraction. Light yellow diamonds, with their subtler coloration, are frequently used in pieces that incorporate other colored stones or intricate designs, serving as a complementary element rather than the focal point.
Popular Jewelry Settings for a Yellow Diamond
The splendor of a yellow diamond is not just in its inherent qualities but also in the way it's showcased. The setting you choose for your yellow diamond can either augment its natural beauty or dampen its radiance. From the symbology-rich engagement rings to the opulent extravagance of necklaces, the possibilities are endless. Here's a rundown of some popular jewelry settings where yellow diamonds shine their brightest.
The metal in which a yellow diamond is set can dramatically alter its appearance. When choosing a metal for your yellow diamond jewelry, consider the contrast between the metal and the diamond. For instance, white gold or platinum can make the stone's yellow color appear more intense.
In contrast, yellow gold may create a harmonious blend, allowing the wearer to appreciate the natural beauty of the yellow diamond. As for styles, combining classic shapes like cushion and radiant cuts with any of the mentioned settings will result in a masterpiece that highlights the yellow diamond's allure.
I am thrilled to share some popular engagement ring settings that enhance the beauty and elegance of these fancy-colored stones.
Bezel Setting: I appreciate the bezel setting, as it encircles the yellow diamond with a thin metal rim, providing both protection and a contrasting frame against the gemstone. The metal accentuates the diamond's color and often accentuates it further when using white gold or platinum.
Halo Setting: I find halo settings to be particularly captivating for a yellow diamond, as they surround the center stone with smaller diamonds, creating a sparkling frame that emphasizes the center stone's color. This popular choice for engagement rings offers a perfect blend of glamour and sophistication.
Three-Stone Setting: To create a truly eye-catching piece, I would recommend a three-stone setting for a yellow diamond engagement ring. This design features a stunning yellow diamond as the center stone, flanked by two complementary white diamonds. This combination draws attention to the vibrant hue of the yellow diamond and adds an air of elegance.
Pave Setting: For those who appreciate intricate detail, a pave setting might be the ideal choice. In this setting, small diamonds are set closely together, creating the illusion of a continuous, paved surface of sparkle. When incorporating a yellow diamond as the focal point, it adds a pop of color and a touch of uniqueness to the design.
Tennis bracelets offer a stunning venue for yellow diamonds to exhibit their brilliance. Here, the diamonds are usually set in a line and can either be interspersed with white diamonds for contrast or stand alone to create a vibrant, monochromatic piece.
From pendants to elaborate chokers, yellow diamonds bring a unique allure to necklaces. A solitaire yellow diamond pendant offers understated elegance, while more intricate designs incorporating multiple stones can create a veritable symphony of color and light.
Famous Yellow Diamonds
I've come across various remarkable yellow diamonds, a few finding their way into the annals of history and the echelons of fame. Each famous yellow diamond is a mesmerizing blend of beauty, lore, and cultural significance, capturing the collective fascination of societies worldwide. Let's delve into a few luminary examples that have left an indelible mark on the world of gemology.
A singular marvel in the realm of colored diamonds, the Kimberley Octahedral remains uncut and weighs an awe-inspiring 616 carats. Discovered in the famed Kimberley mine of South Africa, this octahedral-shaped stone is a magnificent example of natural geometry coalescing with extraordinary color.
Sun of Africa
A scintillating gem with a weight of 127 carats, the Sun of Africa boasts a radiant Fancy Vivid Yellow hue. Its odyssey from the depths of South Africa's mines to its current abode in a private collection is shrouded in intrigue, with every facet seemingly holding a secret.
Tiffany Yellow Diamond
Perhaps one of the most iconic yellow diamonds in existence, the Tiffany Yellow Diamond weighs a staggering 128.54 carats and is renowned for its extraordinary Fancy Vivid Yellow color. It resides in New York, housed within the sanctified halls of Tiffany & Co., and has been worn by celebrities like Audrey Hepburn and Lady Gaga.
The Golden Canary
The Incomparable diamond weighed in at an astounding 407.48 carats and was one of the largest internally flawless diamonds in the world. Its Fancy Brownish Yellow hue renders it truly unique, a monolithic testament to the intricacies of geological formation and human craftsmanship.
The Golden Canary was cut from this diamond. Even with its weight cut down to 303.3 carats, it is still the largest internally flawless diamond the GIA ever graded.
The renown of these diamonds isn't merely a product of their size or aesthetic grandeur; it's also deeply intertwined with the myths, histories, and personalities that have come into contact with them. From royal vaults and star-studded galas to secretive auctions and world-exhibitions, these stones have journeyed through time and space, captivating imaginations and inciting wonder.
Best Places to Buy a Yellow Diamond Online
1. James Allen
When it comes to fancy colored diamonds, James Allen has a large selection of various diamonds. Their yellow diamond library is no different. They have over 3,000 different yellow diamonds. Most of them come with GIA grading reports, or another reputable lab.
Not only do they carry natural yellow diamonds, but they have yellow lab grown diamonds as well.
Aside from the large selection, I like James Allen for a number of reasons. James Allen is everybody's diamond dealer. The company doesn't judge you based on your wallet.
You also get complete transparency with them through their 360˚ viewing technology. James Allen allows you to survey each stone, which allows you to see any natural inclusions that might appear in lower clarity grades.
Perhaps one of the best perks when buying a James Allen ring is that they have a lifetime warranty for all of their jewelry. This free warranty not only design flaws, but also wear and tear.
James Allen covers nicks and dents, as well as rhodium plating white gold, cleaning, and tightening stones. You also get one free resizing within the first year, just in case your ring didn't fit quite right.
2. Blue Nile
Blue Nile also has the largest selection selection of natural yellow diamonds today They have around 4,000 loose yellow diamonds. They also have yellow lab diamond jewelry, but not loose diamonds.
They have controllable 360˚ viewing but not on all of their diamonds. It doesn't seem like they have it on the Fancy Intense and darker yellow diamonds, which is a bummer. You can't really tell how accurate a picture is. But, they have a 30-day return policy, so if you find it's not what you're looking for, they've got free returns.
They also tell you the hue range of every yellow diamond, just in case your computer colors are off, which we know can happen from time to time. That should narrow it down further for you, which is a super helpful solve.
All of the diamonds—colorless and fancy colored alike—in Blue Nile's inventory are GIA certified. Diamonds with GIA or AGS certifications are the most dependable and valuable diamonds.
They're constantly being praised not only for their 24/7 service, but also for their strong and reliable rep with customers as the first online retailer in diamonds in 1999. That's one of the reason why someone might pay a little more for a Blue Nile diamond than one from an unknown retailer.
Like some of our other retailers, they don't have any warranty options, other than the free manufacturer's warranty.
3. Brilliant Earth
Brilliant Earth is an online diamond retailer that many are familiar with. Their "Beyond Conflict-Free" campaign is one of the biggest draws to the company. They can identify the origins of all their diamonds. Even though we only recommend conflict-free retailers, most diamond retailers can't tell you exactly which mine that diamond comes from.
They carry a small collection of both natural and lab yellow diamonds, with around 21 natural yellow diamonds and 8 lab yellow diamonds. It's a varied selection though with different intensities and even a hue change like this gorgeous orangey yellow diamond below:
One of my favorite things about Brilliant Earth is that they actually allow you to see what your diamond will look like in the different setting options they offer. Most online retailers have this for colorless diamonds, but not for their colored section. Even James Allen doesn't do this. You can't see it in the 360˚ video, but at least while you're browsing.
Brilliant Earth also has a manufacturer's warranty. They do have an Extended Service Plan, which is a 3-year warranty that you pay for based on a sliding scale. That's more than what some of our picks offer. After that, all routine maintenance is out of pocket.
4. Leibish & Co
As someone who has always been drawn to unique and vibrant gemstones, I was thrilled to discover Leibish & Co.'s collection of fancy yellow diamonds. I have been searching for the perfect pendant for my mom, and I knew that a fancy yellow diamond would be the perfect choice to reflect her personality and style.
What sets Leibish & Co. apart from other diamond retailers is their unparalleled selection of fancy colored diamonds. At the time of writing this review, they have over 1,200 loose color diamonds of different hues, clarities, shapes, and sizes. This massive inventory ensures that you will find exactly what you're looking for, regardless of your budget.
I was also impressed with the expertise of Leibish & Co.'s jewelry department when it comes to setting fancy color diamonds. Unlike other vendors, their packaging is well thought-out and elegant, befitting the stature of fancy colors. The website is also easy to navigate, allowing you to narrow down your search based on your specific terms.
Overall, I highly recommend Leibish & Co. for anyone looking for a unique and beautiful fancy yellow diamond. Their selection, expertise, and attention to detail make them the perfect choice for any special occasion.
How to Get the Best Deal When Buying Yellow Diamonds Online
Based on my knowledge and the information available online, I've gathered some tips to help you get the best deal when purchasing a yellow diamond online.
- Research and compare prices: It is essential to check various online retailers and compare their prices to get a better understanding of the market. Websites like Brilliant Earth and James Allen offer an extensive collection of yellow diamonds.
- Understand the diamond grading system: Familiarize yourself with the 4 Cs of diamond grading (carat weight, cut, clarity, and color). Specifically, for yellow diamonds, color is crucial, so learn about hue, tone, and saturation.
- Choose the right setting and metal type: As I said, a yellow diamond pairs well with a contrasting metal like white gold or platinum, and the setting can make a significant difference in the overall appearance. Make sure to select a setting that enhances the diamond's color and brilliance.
- Look for certified diamonds: Ensure that the diamond you are considering has a certification from a reputable laboratory like GIA or AGS. These certifications provide detailed information about the diamond's quality and authenticity.
- Read reviews and ask for recommendations: Before making a purchase, read customer reviews to understand the reputation of the seller. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or members of online communities who have experience purchasing diamonds online.
By following these tips, I'm confident that you'll make an informed decision when buying a yellow diamond online. Good luck!
Red Flags When Buying a Yellow Diamond Online
I've identified some red flags that you should be cautious of when shopping for these beautiful gems online:
- Lack of Certification: Always look for a reputable gemological certificate, like GIA, AGS, or IGI, as it confirms the diamond's authenticity, color, and quality.
- Poorly Represented Images: Be wary of images that don't accurately represent the diamond's color or appear to be enhanced, as it can be misleading.
- Lack of Return Policy: Reputable sellers usually offer a fair return policy. If the seller does not offer one, it might be a sign that they are not confident in their product.
- Too Good to Be True Prices: If you find a yellow diamond online with a significantly lower price than other comparable ones, it's possible the color, clarity, or other quality aspects have been misrepresented.
- Unknown or Unverified Sellers: Purchasing from an unknown or unverified seller puts you at a higher risk of fraud or receiving a misrepresented diamond.
When shopping for a yellow diamond online, it's important to choose a reputable seller, ensure you have all crucial information about the stone, and stay vigilant for any potential red flags.
FAQs About Yellow Diamonds
What are the benefits of choosing a yellow diamond over a white diamond?
A yellow diamonds offers a unique and elegant appearance compared to traditional white diamond. Due to their rarity and distinctive color, they can be seen as a symbol of individuality. Additionally, a yellow diamond tends to have a less stringent cut requirement, which means that the beauty of the stone can still shine through even with a lower cut grade, such as a Very Good Cut or Good Cut. The best cut shape for yellow diamonds is often considered to be the radiant cut, which combines both the brilliant and step-cutting techniques for a stunning result.
Are yellow diamonds more expensive?
Natural yellow diamonds that have not undergone any treatment tend to be more expensive than colorless diamonds of similar quality. However, since yellow is the most common fancy color diamond, many are available at comparable prices to colorless diamonds. The price of a yellow diamond can increase significantly for larger weights, especially for stones over one carat. Although the cut is not a major factor in the price of colored diamonds, color intensity is a significant factor, especially for a natural and untreated yellow diamond.
What are the differences between natural and lab-created yellow diamonds?
Natural yellow diamonds are formed in the Earth's mantle under extreme heat and pressure, with their color resulting from the presence of nitrogen. Lab-created yellow diamonds, also known as treated yellow diamonds, have the same chemical composition but have undergone a treatment process to change the stone's color.
Both natural and lab-created yellow diamonds are real diamonds, but they differ in origin, rarity, and price. Natural yellow diamonds are rarer and generally more expensive, while lab-created ones may be more affordable. However, both types offer the same level of durability and sparkle, so your choice would depend on your preference and budget.
How does fluorescence affect a yellow diamond?
Fluorescence can potentially alter the appearance of a diamond under UV light. In some yellow diamonds, fluorescence can either enhance or diminish the stone's color, depending on the interaction between the fluorescent color and the diamond's inherent hue.
What's the difference between a yellow diamond and a "canary" diamond?
The term "canary" is often used colloquially to describe yellow diamonds with an intensely vibrant hue, akin to the coloration of a canary bird. However, this term is not officially recognized in gemological grading.
Do yellow diamonds have a symbolic meaning?
In the realm of symbolism, yellow is often associated with happiness, optimism, and enlightenment. While not universally accepted, some people do choose yellow diamonds for their purported symbolic resonance.
What types of inclusions are common in yellow diamonds?
Inclusions in yellow diamonds can range from internal gas bubbles to foreign minerals. While inclusions are generally considered imperfections, they can also lend a unique character to the diamond.
Is a certification necessary when buying a yellow diamond?
While not strictly required, a certification from a reputable gemological lab ensures that you understand exactly what you're purchasing. It provides details about the diamond's cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
Sunshine on Your Finger
In the kaleidoscope of life's choices, opting for a yellow diamond is akin to choosing a burst of sunshine to keep close, a luminous fragment of Earth's story encapsulated within a radiant gem. Beyond their aesthetic allure, yellow diamonds serve as a testament to the magnificent intricacies of nature and the sheer talent of human craftsmanship. Their journey from the depths of the Earth, or the controlled environment of a lab, to the sanctified space of a jewelry box is nothing short of an odyssey—a narrative of beauty, rarity, and personal meaning.
As you navigate your way through this dazzling world, remember that each yellow diamond, whether flaunting a rich, canary hue or a subtle, pale wash, is a treasure trove of geological history and individualistic flair.
Whether you're marking an engagement, celebrating a milestone, or simply indulging in the pleasure of owning something exquisite, let your choice be both informed and impassioned. Embrace the opportunity to add not just a gem, but a symbol of enduring beauty and complexity to your life. So go ahead, let a yellow diamond be your own personal sunshine.